Title

The Political–Technical Divide and Collaborative Management in Brazil’s Taquari Basin

Abstract

Elected officials and managers are both integral players in natural resource management. Politicians and technicians recognize that interdependencies exist, but finding organizational models that effectively integrate the distinct political and technical aspects of these endeavors remains a challenge. In Brazil’s Taquari Basin, leaders formed a watershed-based intermunicipal consortium in an attempt to achieve such integration. The experience of this consortium shows that organizing management around watersheds does not naturally lead to political–technical integration. The institutional separation of political and technical activities within this consortium’s structure generated divergent beliefs about appropriate functions for a watershed-based organization, ultimately impeding collaboration. Efforts to overcome these differences were largely unsuccessful, as the communication strategies employed were based on flawed understandings of the interests and objectives of politicians and technicians, respectively. This study draws on conceptual frameworks from organizational sociology to uncover the social forces that both facilitate and impede collaboration across the political–technical divide.

Publication Date

3-2010

Journal Title

The Journal of Environment & Development

Publisher

Sage Publications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1177/1070496509355275

Document Type

Article

Rights

© 2010 SAGE Publications

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